Okay, don’t quote me on this but, currently 1 out of 5 parents are teaching their babies sign language…in about 5 years, those numbers will be reversed meaning more parents will jump the bandwagon and discover the the benefits of signing with their babies. At least this is what we were told by our baby sign language instructor Joann Woolley, of Sign4Baby, and I have to say, this sounds about right. We started out with a Baby Signs DVD, and decided to take it to the next level by interacting with other parents and their children.
I am pleased to report that Pinky, Daddy and I have enrolled into a 6 week course with Joann. I remember even before I was pregnant I had my heart set on teaching my baby everything I could to enhance their way of life, sign language being one of those lessons. I’ve had a few friends share with me their success stories of signing with their children. I mean, as a parent it just makes sense to do whatever you can to communicate with your baby. I want as much as possible to eliminate the frustration of communicating with my baby and I believe baby sign language is the way to do that. I have always been a firm believer in education. I am not a teacher per se, but I love being a student; and if I know something will benefit another person, I will do my best to teach them or at least provide them the resources to educate themselves.
We had our first class last Saturday and Pinky had a ball! It was her first time being in a room full of kids and toys. I didn’t realize how fast she could move until I put her on a little blue mat with people her own size and a bunch of gadgets she could put in her mouth. She was so excited to be around other kids. She was playing, exploring, and socializing. She was going CRAZY – my new adjective for her! It was so amazing for me and Daddy to see her in this new environment, surrounded by little strangers all there to learn the same thing. The other parents were nice, welcoming and some probably felt as awkward as we did at first, but we were all there for a great cause, our children!
What We Learned
The class started out with introductions – parent’s names, baby’s name, why were we there, etc. There were about 6 children from 6 months old, that was Pinky (although she was as big as the 10 month old sitting next to her), to 2 years old. Joann made it clear that the class was more for us parents since we will be teaching our children. After introductions we sang several songs, we went around the room again and talked about the things that interest our children and learned the signs for them. Pinky has been interested in everything but one thing that I could remember that stood out was the fact that she loves grabbing our water bottles, so we learned the sign for water. Some other things we learned how to sign were 3 little monkeys (jumping on the bed), spider, fox, grapes, mommy, daddy, bear, and play. We learned that it is important for our children to be interested in what they are learning and that we should teach them at a time when they are happy and not cranky. This makes total sense, but I know there are times when I try to show Pinky the sign for milk and she is already screaming and pulling down my shirt, at that point it’s almost too late, but I do it anyways so she can associate the sign with the action. I’ve been teaching her that sign almost consistently for about 3 months now and I noticed that she does it while she is eating.
Overall, our first class was a success. Joann is a great teacher and we can tell she loves her ‘job’ she really is passionate about what she does! The class lasted about 45 minutes, which was just enough time since Pinky was starting to get cranky near the end. The cost for the 6 week course is reasonable; and both parents can join for an additional nominal fee. Joann also emailed out a welcome packet which I thought was very cute and environmentally friendly…not to mention, smart! We met at a cute place called Java Mama which made attending the class even more exciting because I had been wanting to check the place out. The concept is great, a place where moms can get together and have a coffee break while their kids can play. However; I will not lie, the coffee and pastries were just okay for me and Daddy. This week we’ll be stopping by Panera or Starbucks before class.
Until Next Time
On a happier note, we can’t wait for Pinky to being picking up on more signs. She signs dog when she’s sees one, and she sees 8 of them when she’s at Grandma and Grandpa’s house two days out of the week! It’s so exciting to watch our Pinky learn and grow. We fall in love with her everyday and everyday brings a new and amazing adventure!
To read more about pinky’s sign language education visit our blog at http://thepinkyproject.com.